Energy & Environmental Law Blog

Energy & Environmental Law Blog

Analyzing the critical energy and environmental issues of the day

Category Archives: California

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CPUC: New Standard Offer Contracts for Qualifying Facilities 20 MWs or Less May Be Coming Soon

Posted in California, Renewables, Rulemakings
Energy project developers interested in securing qualifying facility (QF) contracts in California for small power projects of 20 MWs or less may soon have new commercial opportunities because of a new Order Instituting Rulemaking issued on August 1 by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). A wide range of power projects can qualify as QFs,… Continue Reading

12 Weeks Until New Safe Harbor Prop 65 Warnings Take Effect

Posted in California
What meets the standard today may not meet the standard in 12 weeks. On August 30, 2018, California’s “safe harbor” Proposition 65 warnings are changing, increasing the information needed for those warnings and  imposing specific requirements on newly regulated industries, classes of products and internet sales. We’ve previously posted on this upcoming change. For more information… Continue Reading

California Proposition 65 Amendments – An Unsavory Impact on Food and Beverage Industries?

Posted in California
Now is the time to update your Proposition 65 warnings in California. On August 30, 2018, new regulations go into effect changing the warnings required for the food and beverage industries. Amendments to California’s Proposition 65, also known as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, require businesses to provide “clear and… Continue Reading

The CPUC Effort to Define Climate Adaptation Is Ambitious Even for the CPUC

Posted in California
On May 7, 2019, the California Public Utilities Commission issued an Order Instituting Rulemaking to consider strategies and guidance for climate change adaption. The broad scope of this rulemaking is intended to ensure that the investor-owned public utilities take proper steps to ensure safety and reliability at a time where the impacts of climate change… Continue Reading

Dumpster Divers Extract Millions of Dollars. Again.

Posted in California, Environmental Quality
From 2013 through 2015 investigators checked trash dumpsters from Home Depot stores. Based on what they found, the California Attorney General and various District Attorneys (collectively the “State”) brought a claim with astronomical potential penalties for what they had found. Home Depot agreed to pay $27.8 million to settle the claim when faced with the… Continue Reading

California Public Utilities Commission Issues Resolution ALJ-344, Constricting Procedures

Posted in California
At the end of 2017, the California Public Utilities Commission issued Resolution ALJ-344 which implements statutory amendments pursuant to Senate Bill (SB) 215, reflects changes in the Commission’s administration, streamlines certain procedures, and provides greater clarity. These changes come amidst mounting pressure on the CPUC to address allegations of “cozy” relationships with utilities, in the… Continue Reading

California Feed-in-Tariff Program that Promotes Renewable Energy Procurement (Re-MAT) Found To Be Unconstitutional

Posted in California, Renewables
As California marches forward with its aggressive renewable energy targets, expecting to procure half of its electricity from renewables by 2030, a recent federal district court decision calls into question the constitutionality of one of the major regulatory programs that the California Public Utilities Commission (“CPUC”) implemented to foster further renewable development. On December 6,… Continue Reading

California’s Cap-and-Trade Regulations Extended Through 2030 – A Victory for Climate Policy and Business Alike

Posted in California, Cap and Trade
On July 17, 2017, the California Assembly and the Senate voted to extend California’s Cap-and-Trade Program from 2021 to 2030 (Assembly Bill (“AB”) 398). Governor Brown is widely expected to sign the bill in the coming weeks. AB 398 is considered as a major win for Governor Brown and his commitment to fight climate change,… Continue Reading

Vidhya Prabhakaran In Fireside Chat with CPUC President Picker

Posted in California
Vidhya Prabhakaran, a partner in national law firm Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, interviews California Public Utilities Commission President Michael Picker about the relevant developments and implications around expanding retail choice in California at the Advanced Energy Economy’s Pathway to 2050 conference. The full presentation may be viewed here. The annual California energy policy event brings together… Continue Reading

Change is Coming for CPUC Procedures

Posted in California
Spring cleaning has come to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) as it sets on a path to overhaul its Rules of Practice and Procedure. On May 4, 2017, Administrative Law Judge Wildgrube issued Draft Resolution ALJ-344 with the purpose of implementing statutory amendments pursuant to SB 215, reflecting changes in the CPUC’s administration, streamlining… Continue Reading

PG&E Narrows Scope of the CPUC Proceeding to Shut Down the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant by Unilaterally Withdrawing Its Procurement and Cost Allocation Requests

Posted in California
On February 27, 2017, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (“PG&E”) announced it is withdrawing several portions of its plan to close its 2.3 gigawatt Diablo Canyon Power Plant near San Luis Obispo by 2025. Specifically, PG&E has withdrawn its requests that the California Public Utilities Commission (“CPUC”) authorize PG&E to replace Diablo’s generation capacity with… Continue Reading

Proposed California Bill to Cap Coal-Generated Electricity and Eliminate Coal-Dependency by 2026

Posted in California
On January 4, 2017, at the start of this year’s legislative session, Assemblymember Marc Levine of Marin County introduced Assembly Bill (AB) 79, which is intended to cap the amount of coal-generated electricity used in California. Under the current version of AB 79, a maximum of 6 percent of electricity consumed in California could be… Continue Reading

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP’s Environmental Partners to Discuss the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act During American Bar Association Webinar 10.20.16

Posted in California, Environmental Quality
Davis Wright Tremaine LLP partners Kerry Shea and Larry Burke to join the American Bar Association webinar on the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, along with Hope Schmeltzer, Assistant Regional Counsel at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Thomas Fusillo, Managing Principal at Ramboll Environ. This webinar will address the management of hazardous waste, solid… Continue Reading

California’s New Climate Change Law Tempered by Uncertainty About Its Cap and Trade Program

Posted in California, Cap and Trade, Climate Change
California Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 32 last week codifying into law his office’s emission reduction goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions to 40% below the 1990 level by 2030. By signing this bill, Governor Brown made his prior Executive Order B-30-15 part of California’s overall climate change law by adding a new section… Continue Reading

CPUC Hosts Workshop for New Safety Intervenor

Posted in California, Electric Power, Federal, Rulemakings
Earlier in 2016, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) received approval from the Legislature to establish its own Office of Safety Advocates (OSA) as an effort to expand the participation of safety related intervenors in relevant CPUC proceedings.  This month, the CPUC is hosting a workshop to: (i) allow stakeholders to brainstorm an effective way… Continue Reading

CPUC Cracks Down on Secrecy of Utility Data

Posted in California, Electric Power, Federal, Rulemakings
For California utilities, ensuring their information stays confidential just got harder. On August 25, 2016, the California Public Utilities Commission issued a decision updating the process for submitting potentially confidential documents to the Commission. The Commission intended for this process to ensure consistency across industries and to expedite Commission review of California Public Records Act… Continue Reading

“The War Is Over”: Assemblymember Gatto Introduces Bill to Memorialize CPUC Reform Package

Posted in California, Renewables
At an August 11th conference organized by the Advanced Energy Economy, Assemblymember Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles), Chair of the Utilities and Commerce Committee, and California Public Utilities Commission (“CPUC”) President Michael Picker participated in a panel discussion on CPUC reform efforts. Gatto declared that “the war is over,” referencing the sparring between the Legislature and… Continue Reading

State Water Board Cleans Up Its Water Quality Enforcement Policy

Posted in California, Rulemakings, Water Law
 On August 4, 2016, the California State Water Resources Board (State Water Board) issued a draft rule amending its 2010 Water Quality Enforcement Policy. The proposed amendments are intended to provide additional clarity, allow disadvantaged communities to receive assistance with compliance matters akin to that provided under the current policy to facilities serving small communities,… Continue Reading

CARB Proposed Amendments to Extend the Cap-and-Trade Program Beyond 2020 Overshadow Significant Revisions to the Program Itself

Posted in California, Cap and Trade, Rulemakings
On August 2nd, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) formally released its Proposed Amendments to the California Cap-and-Trade Program.  CARB’s proposed amendments are meant to extend the program through 2030 and ensure continued emissions reductions through 2050.  Notably, the amendments are also intended to broaden the program through linkage with the Ontario program beginning in… Continue Reading

BPA in Plastics Requires a Prop 65 Warning — For Food Containers, California Imposes a Generic Point-of-Sale Warning

Posted in California, Health and Safety
Last year the State of California added Bisphenol A (BPA) to its list of chemicals known to cause cancer or reproductive harm under Prop 65 [the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986], a law which requires warnings for such exposures in California. The warning requirement kicked in a year later – May… Continue Reading

CPUC Implementation of the Renewables Portfolio Standard Beyond 2020 Begins

Posted in California, Renewables
– a dispatch from  California Energy attorney Vid Prabhakaran – The California Public Utilities Commission is revving itself up to take on the task of putting together a whole new set of procurement requirements to implement the Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS)-related provisions of Senate Bill (SB) 350. As described in an earlier blog entry, SB… Continue Reading

When is a reward a bribe? OSHA policy limits workplace safety incentive programs

Posted in California, Federal, Health and Safety, Northwest
Years ago, my employer gave employees a coaster every quarter that the group had no OSHA reportable incidents. Now it would have been in violation to have such a program. Despite criticism from workers compensation carriers who recognize the benefits of incentive programs, OSHA has reiterated its policy and it continues to enforce against companies… Continue Reading